The X-Files

Season 9 Episode 15

Jump the Shark

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Apr 21, 2002 on FOX



  • Trivia

    • Michael McKean played Lenny on Laverne and Shirley, a spin-off of Happy Days. Michael first appeared as Leonard 'Lenny' Kosnowski on Happy Days, the show that "Jump the Shark" was coined for (referring to the show where Fonzie jumped a shark tank). Today "jumped the shark" is slang used for any TV show that has tried too many gimmicks to promote ratings, or more generally to refer to anything that has gone on too long and lost its way.

    • During the funeral scene, it is obvious that the caskets are simply sitting on the ground and that there are no holes dug under them.

    • Since when are firedoors air-tight enough to contain a virulent virological plague?

  • Quotes

    • Scully: (About The Lone Gunmen) They meant so much to me... I don't think they ever knew that.

    • Langly: You want to know why Joey Ramone's my hero? 'Cause people like you never managed to grind him down. They never stole his spirit. He never gave in, never gave up, and never sold out. Right till his last breath. And he's not dead. Guys like that, they live forever

    • Morris Fletcher: I was a 'Man In Black'.
      Doggett: I saw the movie.
      Morris Fletcher: Yeah, well there were a lot of technical inaccuracies in that.

    • (talking about the Gunmen)
      Morris Fletcher: Once upon a time there were shall I put this? Geeks.

    • Byers: We never gave up. We never gave in. If, in the end, that's the best they can say about us, it'll do.

  • Notes

    • The theme of "The Lone Gunmen" is played in the first scene after the credits showing a shark swimming in the ocean.

    • This is the last episode written by John Shiban. He wrote 24 of the 202 X Files episodes.

    • Writer Thomas Schnauz (who gave us 'Lord of the Flies' and 'Scary Monsters') portrayed the 'Speaker' in this episode.

    • There is no Hartwell College in Kearny, New Jersey.

    • Although they are billed in the main opening credits Gillian Anderson and Mitch Pileggi only make a brief appearance at the end of the episode.

    • The phrase Jump the Shark comes from the episode of Happy Days where Fonzie literally jumped over a shark on water skis which was considered "the end of Happy Days".

    • This episode marks the deaths of the three Lone Gunmen, effectively making the cancellation of the Lone Gunmen spin-off permanent.

    • The guy named "John Gillnitz" is a long running in-joke - a combination of parts of the names of writers John Shiban, Vince Gilligan and Frank Spotnitz.

      Characters named "John Gillnitz " appeared in six different episodes over the course of the series. Even if they were not explicitly identified in the credits, the characters were referred to by that name during the course of the episode.
      The occurrences are:

      1. Episode 72/3-23, Wetwired, victim in hammock (uncredited)

      2. Episode 85/4-12, Leonard Betts, bearded man/murder victim (Ken Jones)

      3. Episode 103/5-6, Christmas Carol, DNA technician (uncredited)

      4. Episode 122/6-5, Dreamland: Part 2, mentioned in passing, does not appear on screen.

      5. Episode 153/7-14, Theef, reporter (Mark Thompson)

      6. Episode 197/9-15, Jump the Shark, man with bioweapon (Marcus Giamatti).

      With the exception of Wetwired, which was written by Mat Beck, who introduced the character, the trio wrote the episodes their "namesake" appeared in.
      The amalgamated character name John Gillnitz also appeared in an episode of "The Lone Gunmen", spinoff to the X-Files, in the episode "The Capt'n Toby Show," which Shiban, Gilligan, and Spotnitz also wrote.

    • This marks the reunion of writers Gilligan, Shiban and Spotnitz, who together have written some of the most memorable X-Files stories and are also co-creators of the short lived Lone Gunmen series. Their first episode was season 4's 'Leonard Betts', and the trio took a short sabbatical to work on TLG after season 7's 'Theef'.

    • Jump the Shark is a term referring to the point when a popular show reaches it's peak and begins the downward slide towards possible cancellation. The saying has been popularised by the website Jump The Shark, where visitors can post their opinions on when their favourite shows went bad.
      Go to for more information on what it means to "Jump the Shark".

  • Allusions

    • Movie Reference: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn

      In their final scene, the Lone Gunmen place their hands on the glass where their intern Jimmy has his hand. This is in referrence to Spock's famous death scene in the movie.

    • Maurice Fletcher Voiceover: Once upon a time there were three, how shall I put this, geeks...

      The whole of the opening to this episode is an obvious reference to the original Charlie's Angels TV series, which always began with 'Once upon a time there were three little girls who went to the Police Academy' etc. Much of the whole text of the opening is lifted from the CA voiceover, with additional jokes. It works really well. Even the opening image is of the Lone Gunmen in separate rectangular shots, much like all the Charlie's Angels episodes.